Anti-Muslim street protest movements

- 11 01 18

CHAPTERS: 1 2 3 4 5 6


Defence League network

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Chapter 1: Defence League network

The Defence League network is a network of offshoots of the English Defence League (EDL), launched post-2009 to form an international Defence League movement in opposition to the perceived ‘Islamisation’ of Europe and the wider world.

In 30 October 2010 there was an attempt to form the European Defence League in Amsterdam, though the demonstration was poorly attended and there has been little international co-ordination since. The European Defence League, which is allied to the European Freedom Initiative (EFI), has been dominated by the English Defence League, its only successful branch.

The European Defence League was re-launched at a European counter-jihad rally of national Defence Leagues and counter-jihadist activists in Århus, Denmark on 31 March 2012, which was attended by Defence League groups from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, UK, Germany and Russia.

Since then, the European Defence League has become increasingly fractured as national Defence Leagues have faced a series of internal splits and a struggle to distance themselves from more hardline nazi groups.

Some of the groups in the network have become inactive while others continue to exist in a much-diminished form. However, its collaborative front is no longer active and its Facebook page simply shares anti-Muslim content. Some of the activists and groups have become involved in the international Pegida network instead.


Danish Defence League (DDL)

Finnish Defence League (FDL)

Dutch Defence League (DDL)

Norwegian Defence League (NDL)

Polish Defence League (PDL)

English Defence League (EDL)

Scottish Defence League (SDL)

Australian Defence League (ADL)

Swedish Defence League (SDL)

Danish Defence League (DDL)

Leaders: Lars Grønbæk Larsen

The Danish Defence League (DDL) was founded in 2011. However there was a major split within the organisation towards the end of that year, with four sections and more than 25 members leaving, following allegations of embezzlement and the use of undemocratic methods by some in the leadership.

The DDL then reformed and rose to prominence on the counter-jihad scene as it hosted the European counter-jihad relaunch rally of the European Defence League in Århus, Denmark on 31 March 2012.

In autumn 2012, the then-leader of the DDL, Kasper Mortensen, was arrested and remanded in police custody and subsequently replaced by Philip Traulsen. The DDL under Traulsen’s leadership was much diminished and increasingly developed links to nazi groups. Traulsen has previously been involved with Denmark’s National Front and has attended events held by the nazi music network, Blood & Honour.

Other DDL members have also been associated with nazi activity. Several members have been active in the nazi Danskernes Party, led by Daniel Carlsen. DDL member Jonas Holtet Bolvig has a tattoo of the Nazi Party symbol, while Jimmie Hørskov Juhler, Treasurer and Vice-President of DDL, updated his profile picture on Facebook to an image of himself photoshopped as the infamous self-portrait of Breivik posing with a gun, as a tribute to the Norwegian terrorist.

The DDL’s summer festival, held in Rødovre in 2013 saw attendees from the then-secret network ‘Nationale Arrangementer På Tværs’, a group with links to the white pride movement and violent far-right members from the now-defunct Vederfølner and nazi Danskernes Party.

In January 2015, Philip Traulsen resigned as spokesman for DDL and also resigned from the organisation. He has been replaced by former spokesman and chairman of the right-wing Vederfølner, Lars Grønbæk Larsen.

More recently Larsen has attended For Frihed (Pegida DK) demonstrations including one in January 2016 that was also attended by English Defence League founder Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson), then-of Pegida UK. In June 2016 Lars Grønbæk Larsen announced that he had joined the newly-founded right-wing party, Nye Borgerlige.

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Finnish Defence League (FDL)

Founder: Mimosa Kolranen (aka Mimosa Dedanann)

Chairman: Jukka Ketonen

Vice Chairman: Kim Larni

Secretary: Ninni Nurminen.

Members of the Board: Sami Luoma, Marko Parkkola.

The FDL was founded in May 2011 as a part of the European Defence League Network and is linked to the European Freedom Initiative.

Leader Mimosa Kolranen addressed the re-launch rally of the European Defence League in Århus, Denmark on 31 March 2012. The group has claimed to have members in 90 different locations in Finland.

In 2016 the FDL continued to have tiny demonstrations with one in Helsinki in April seeing roughly 30 people in attendance.  The group held a demonstration as recently as 9 August 2017 in Helsinki with speakers including Jukka Wallin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Finnish Democrats, a member of Soldiers of Odin and Maria Kaljuste, President of the Fortress Europe initiative.

The outfit has organised the FDL Academy since 2016 to train activists.

As of January 2018, the group’s Facebook page has 11,800 Likes and remains very active.

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Dutch Defence League (DDL)

Leader: Raffie Chohan and Maarten Hoekwater

Founded in September 2010, the Dutch Defence League (DDL) organised a pro-Geert Wilders rally in Amsterdam on 30 October 2010 on behalf of the European Freedom Initiative (EFI), which had been heralded as the launch of a European Defence League.

However the event was a failure and the DDL collapsed soon after. In December 2010 the group staged a demonstration against Iran but fewer than ten people participated.

In 2014 Raffie Chohan and her husband Maarten Hoekwater launched a new DDL, and in May that year they organised a march in Rotterdam that was attended by roughly 40 people. In October and November 2015 the DDL organised a joint demonstration with the Dutch Pegida branch.

At a Pegida demonstration in Utrecht in October 2016 Chohan claimed that “massive inbreeding in Islamic culture causes almost irreversible damage to the intelligence and mental health of Muslims”. She was later fined 800 euros for discrimination, incitement to hatred and insult to Muslims.

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Norwegian Defence League (NDL)

The Norwegian Defence League was formed in 2010 but quickly split into two groups after a dispute over the leadership. The largest group was led by Ronny Alte from Tønsberg, who created a NDL Facebook group with some friends that gathered more than 500 members, including convicted nazis and exiled Russians belonging to the banned Slavic Union.

One of the Russians was Vjoteslav Datsik, who walked into an Oslo police station in 2010 and applied for political asylum while waving a handgun. 

Anders Behring Breivik was an online supporter of the Norwegian Defence League. Other supporters had previously been involved in the Norwegian Blood & Honour network.

The English Defence League had close links with the NDL. In April 2011 the NDL held a demonstration in Oslo. Speaking at the event was London-based EDL activist Darren Lee Marsh.

A new leadership emerged in early 2011, led by Håvar Krane and then Lena Anderson. They organised a demonstration in Oslo in April 2011, attended by just ten people.

Anderson has admitted being in contact with Anders Breivik, when he was a member of the NDL and before his expulsion from the organisation in 2011 (Dagbladet, 13 October 2011). She also had relationships with Alan Ayling and several members of the EDL. It later emerged that anti-racist group SOS Racism had persuaded Håvar Krane to take the leadership of the NDL.

The group seemed to disintegrate after the Breivik killings, though re-emerged, probably stronger than ever, under Ronny Alte’s leadership. Between ten-fifteen NDL supporters attended the Defence League demonstration in Denmark in March 2012.

On 28 February 2013, newspaper Verdens Gang wrote that the NDL had published a list of Muslims on its web page. The list had been compiled on the basis of listings in the Public Entity Registry. Lars Johnny Aardal, deputy leader of the NDL, said that it was published “to show the extent of Islam and Muslims in Norway”.

On 19 April 2012, during the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, Ronny Alte, who had been called to witness for the Defence, announced his resignation from both his position on the organisation’s leadership group (known as ‘the admins’), and from the NDL. Alte claimed that he had wanted to distance himself from Breivik as much as possible. Alte has since been noted as head of his own Pegida faction, so far without any visible success.

In cooperation with Stop Islamisation of Norway, the NDL held its first successful public rally in Stavanger on 23 June 2012.

The NDL Facebook page is still very active, and as of January 2018 had 28,000 Likes.

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Polish Defence League (PDL)

The Polish Defence League was formed in 2010 by Dariusz Brodzik and Rene Buller and later pulled out of the European Defence League Network.

One of the leaders, Piotr Kaczmarczyk, failed to show up to the European Defence League demonstration in Århus, Denmark in March 2012 where he was scheduled to speak.

The PDL appeared to increase its activity from October 2013 when it announced it was not part of the European Defence League Network but was focused on maintaining Poland’s Christian heritage in the face of the “Islamisation” of Europe.

The group applies intimidating methods, occupying meetings of Polish Muslims, visiting mosques and staging stunts and protests. It also runs anti-immigrant petitions in an attempt to lobby the Polish Government.

In 2013, the PDL began staging “patrols” in Warsaw, Poznan and Krakow to escort Polish girls and women home after a night of clubbing, “to ensure they don’t become victims to the epidemic of Muslim gang-rapes”, despite Poland having one of the smallest Muslim populations in Europe.

The group’s website – which states that co-founder Rene Buller is no longer part of the organisation – posted regularly until May 2017.

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English Defence League (EDL)

Leader: Ian Crossland

Co-founders: Steven Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson), Kevin Carroll, Alan Ayling, Paul Ray, Christopher Knowles, Ann Marchini and Jerry Watson.

The English Defence League (EDL) was founded in the summer of 2009 and soon became an amalgamation of smaller anti-Muslim street groups, such as the British Citizens Against Muslim Extremists (also founded in 2009) and Casuals United. 

Once the premier anti-Muslim street movement in Europe, the group reached its peak in 2011. Since former leader Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) quit in 2013, the group has rapidly declined and now exists as a pale shadow of its former self.

The impetus was the formation of the United People of Luton (UPL), which was set up by local football hooligans in response to an al-Muhajiroun demonstration against the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment. The leaders of the UPL were invited to London and, during a meeting with Alan Ayling and his friends, the idea of a national organisation emerged.

The group engages in provocative direct action demonstrations aimed at the Muslim community. Its modus operandi is:

  • Threats and intimidation of councils and public bodies undertaking their civic responsibilities to the wider community.
  • The swarming and the shutting down of shopping areas and precincts at short notice by way of flash demonstrations to affect businesses and the commercial interests of communities.
  • The promotion and encouragement of violence and disorder by recruited and organised football hooligan gangs to stretch police and community resources.
  • The forcing of their will, misunderstandings and prejudices upon the wider community.
  • To foster disharmony and hatred and exacerbate community divisions to leave in their wake explosive tensions between other minority communities and interests.

The EDL has held over 100 demonstrations in more than 50 towns and cities since its founding. It established a network of Regional Organisers in July 2010 and has a youth-wing, English Defence Youth (EDY), founded in 2009, which has claimed 300 members. The EDL has also launched Faith-based Defence Leagues under the Jewish, Hindu and Sikh banners.

EDL demonstrations have been attended by members and former members of the British National Party (BNP), the National Front (NF) and even more extreme organisations such as the British People’s Party (BPP), British Freedom Fighters (BFF), Racial Volunteer Force (RVF), Blood & Honour (B&H) and Combat 18 (C18).

The EDL announced at a meeting of Regional Organisers and activists in the West Midlands on 19 November 2011 that it had agreed to enter into a political alliance with the British Freedom Party (BFP) to enable it to enter electoral politics for the first time.

In May 2012 then EDL leader Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) and his deputy, Kevin Carroll, became joint Vice-Chairmen of the British Freedom Party, a BNP splinter group. However, many supporters were unhappy with this, and the alliance soon collapsed.

The EDL also developed an international strategy and networks, establishing links with like-minded counter-jihad organisations in mainland Europe and North America, including neoconservative organisations and the anti-Islam wing of the Tea Party movement in the United States. For a period it became a prominent player on the international counter-jihad scene and was lauded by supporters around the world. However, what foreign Defence Leagues do still exist are very small and overall the EDL’s attempts to build a functioning international network have been unsuccessful.

Since its peak, when it could attract thousands of people to demonstrations, the EDL has gone into rapid decline and now barely attracts a few hundred to public events. The EDL has been severely weakened by numerous splits and defections that have resulted in a far more disparate and fractured street movement scene. Groups such as the South East Alliance and the various Infidel branches have all emerged out of the EDL.

The EDL had a brief bounce in popularity after the tragic murder of soldier Lee Rigby on the streets of London in May 2013. However, the real hammer blow came in October 2013 when founder and leader Lennon and deputy Carroll left in a media blaze.

The EDL was thrown into turmoil and has never really recovered. Following a period of splits and infighting the group settled under the leadership of Steve ‘Edders’ Eddowes and, more recently, Ian Crossland, although it is a shadow of its former self.

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Scottish Defence League (SDL)

Prominent activist: Sean Graham

Founded in September 2009 as a sister organisation of the EDL, the Scottish Defence League was set up by, amongst others, the hooligan Inter-City Firm (ICF) attached to Glasgow Rangers FC. The SDL joined the breakaway Infidels of Britain coalition on 2 April 2011.

The SDL held a series of demos between 2009 and 2013 in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Lockerbie, Kilmarnock, Paisley, Berwick and Dundee. More recently, they held protests against refugees’ housing in Alloa on 11 March 2017 and in Wishaw on 15 April, as well as in Perth on September 10 2017 to protest the building of a mosque.

The group’s main Facebook page remains active and, as of January 2018, has more than 14,500 Likes.

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Australian Defence League (ADL)

Leader: Shermon Burgess

The ADL first appeared in New South Wales in early 2010, as an informal project of members of the Australian Protectionist Party (APP) inspired by the emergence of the EDL.

The departure of former leader Ralph Cerminara saw Shermon Burgess from Cooma, New South Wales, take the reins. Burgess, who runs a YouTube channel as “The Great Aussie Patriot”, was an early activist of the Australian Defence League, a spokesperson for Reclaim Australia and later the leader of the United Patriots Front until he stood down in October 2015.

Burgess was also a guitarist in a band called the ‘Eureka Brigade’ whose songs included ‘ADL Killing Machine’, ‘Shit on a Mosque’ and ‘Torpedo the Boats’. While claiming only to attack militant Islam there are numerous examples of Burgess vilifying all Muslims and his online presence means he is one of the best-known organisers of Australian anti-Muslim street protests.

The group has failed to hold demonstrations with any significant numbers and had its main Facebook page shut down in April 2014.

To coincide with an international counter-jihad event planned for 10 October 2015, the ADL called for demonstrations outside City Halls across Australia. The results included an anti-mosque demo in Bendigo, Victoria and an event in Brisbane. They were also one of the participating groups in a ‘Shut down Parramatta Mosque’ event in western Sydney on 9 October 2015. Since 2016 the ADL has become largely inactive on the streets.

Various ADL Facebook pages and groups exist, but as of January 2018 its most active page has 7,400 Likes.

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Swedish Defence League (SDL)

Leader: Kamil Ryba

Founded at the beginning of 2011, members of the Swedish Defence League attended the EDL demonstration in Luton in February 2011. Several SDL supporters were at the European Defence League demonstration in Århus, Denmark, in March 2012 where then-EDL leader Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) announced that the next demonstration would be organised by the SDL in Malmö, Sweden. The anti-extremist magazine Expo reported that the SDL speaker at the event, Isak Nygren, arrived alone.

SDL was supposed to have a speaker and new spokesman, Richard Abrahamsson, at the Stop Islamization of Nations (SION) demonstration in Stockholm in 2012. However just a few days before the demo he was kicked out of the organisation after blogging about a plan to “reclaim the swastika”.

In 2014, Kamil Ryba, head of the Swedish Defence League, was sentenced to six months in prison for threatening the staff at GT, the Göteborg edition of the Swedish Daily Expressen.  Kamil Ryba seems to have taken up residency in Norway. Spokesman Vasili Richardson is also closely linked to Dispatch International.

The group now appears to be dormant but it maintains a closed Facebook group for its 370 members, administered by Vasili Richardson. As of January 2018, the group also maintains an active Facebook page with over 10,100 Likes.

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Pegida network

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Chapter 2: Pegida network

The German Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Pegida – Patriotic Europeans against Islamisation of the Occident) was formed in October 2014 in Dresden, Saxony (Germany), as a reaction to public concern about violent street clashes between supporters of the Kurdish PKK and Islamist extremists in the city.

Pegida’s primary targets are Muslims, refugees, the media and mainstream politicians, not least Germany’s federal chancellor Angela Merkel. Among those addressing its rallies have been the populist Dutch politician Geert Wilders (who has called for the Quran to be banned), the German extreme-right Götz Kubitschek, the Turkish extremist author Akif Pirincci and Stephen Lennon (former leader of the anti-Muslim street movement the English Defence League, and former head of Pegida UK).

Until April 2015, when it began to falter, Pegida marched almost every Monday evening in Dresden. Starting with 300 people, the demonstrations grew to a peak of 25,000 in January 2015 and led to numerous unsuccessful attempts to replicate them across Germany.

However the group was struck a blow after leader Lutz Bachmann was pictured dressed as Hitler. The ensuing scandal, alongside competition from the more politically adept and influential right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, pushed the group into a downwards spiral.

The refugee crisis that commenced in 2015 has come to Pegida’s rescue, breathing life back into the bedraggled movement and for a period demonstrations in Dresden again regularly drew thousands of people.

As traditional counter-jihad notions of Western civilization being under attack are central to Pegida’s rhetoric, international cooperation has long been an important aim of its organizers. Bachmann has stated, “It is more important than anything else that the patriots in Europe connect and cooperate to fight this menace.”

Pegida’s initial successes in Dresden spawned copycat groups around Europe, including in the UK, Holland, Norway, Denmark Spain, Belgium, USA, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Canada, Portugal, Poland, Austria, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary.

However, in the same way the Defence Leagues failed to spread as expected, so too have the international offshoots of Pegida. Most were stillborn or emerged straight after the Charlie Hebdo killings, but have done nothing since. In a retrospective in June 2017 Deutsche Welle reported that even the Dresden home of Pegida, their numbers had “dwindled since around February 2016, and have numbered just 1,000 – 2,000 in 2017”.

That said, its spread into other countries has made Pegida internationally known and supplanted the Defence League movement as the go-to counter-jihad street protest brand.

On 23 January 2016 representatives of 14 groups linked to the Pegida Network met with Tatjana Festerling and Lutz Bachmann in the Czech Republic to sign the Prague Declaration which stated their belief the “history of Western Civilization could soon come to an end through Islam conquering Europe.”

The meeting set up a loose network for working together which they called ‘Fortress Europe’, though, beyond the occasional appearance by a member at a rally under its banner, the movement has been largely inactive since.


Pegida Germany

Founder: Lutz Bachmann

Key Activists: Siegfried Daebritz and Tatjana Festerling

The Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Pegida) was born in October 2014 in Dresden, Saxony. The organisers have claimed they started the movement as a reaction to a demonstration by Kurdish people. Since its formation the fortunes of the organisation have ebbed and flowed.

Pegida has rallied almost every Monday evening in Dresden since its inception. Starting with 300 people, the demonstrations quickly became several thousand. The largest, held on 12 January 2015 – a few days after the Charlie Hebdo attack – attracted 25,000 people.

Pegida-style demonstrations have spread to 30 other towns and cities across the country but most attracted derisory numbers, Leipzig and Munich being notable exceptions.

In the summer of 2015 Pegida was thrown into crisis when an image of Lutz Bachmann, the face of Pegida, posing as Hitler went viral. This nearly spelt the end of the movement with demonstrations shrinking back to just a few hundred.

However, the advent of the Migrant Crisis and the influx of Muslim refugees from Syria in the summer of 2015 gave Pegida a much-needed boost with attendances at demonstrations shooting back up and peaking at almost 20,000.

Pegida targets are Muslims, refugees, the media (the Lügenpresse as they call them) and of course so-called establishment politicians. Among those who have addressed its rallies are: Geert Wilders, Götz Kubitschek (New-Right), Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) and author Akif Pirincci. All of them are calling on their followers to resist the “invaders” for the sake of the West.

In September 2016 Festerling and between 60 to 100 supporters assembled as a splinter group at the margins of the main PEGIDA protest in Dresden (comprising of an estimated 2,500 people).

In November 2016 Bachmann was fined 9,600 euros after being found guilty of inciting hatred against foreigners. In a 2015 Facebook post Bachmann referred to refugees as “cattle”, “garbage” and a “dirty bunch”.

In October 2017 Pegida’s third anniversary demonstration had in attendance an estimated 3,000 supporters with speakers including Bachmann, Identitäre Bewegung Österreich co-leader Martin Sellner and various Alternative fur Deutschland MPs.

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 Pegida Österreich (Austria)

The group held its first demonstration in Vienna in February 2015, attended by just a few hundred people. Reports claim that fascist salutes were thrown at the event.  

A further demonstration in Vienna in April 2016, at which Ed Utrecht from the Dutch Pegida spoke, failed to gather more than 50 people.

The branch is now inactive on the streets, although its Facebook page remains active; as of January 2018, it has more than 20,800 Likes.

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Pegida Vlaanderen (Pegida Flanders)

Leader: Kristof De Smet

The Flemish branch of the Pegida was formed in January 2015, but it has been rather unsuccessful so far.

The movement is led by activists from the far-right party Vlaams Belang and supported by the nationalist action group Voorpost.

Despite massive media attention, most of the demonstrations have only attracted 100 to 200 people. During the first (legal) demo of the movement in Gent, a journalist working the national television VRT was subjected to racist insults.

Pegida Flanders has had to deal with a lot of internal problems from the outset and faces domestic competition from groups such as ‘Pegida Belgium’ and ‘Pegida Benelux’. These Pegida groups are only alive on Facebook and have not yet organised anything in public.

A demo in Antwerpen in January 2016 was attended by roughly 300 people. Speakers included Filip Dewinter and Lutz Bachmann. 150 attended a subsequent march in Zeebrugge in March 2016.

Their most recent action was an April 2016 demo in Antwerp, co-organised by members from Alliance for Peace and Freedom.

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Pegida Bulgaria

This group held its first event on 11 January 2015, which was a small meeting outside the office of the European Parliament in Sofia. At the demonstration a large Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE) banner was displayed.

The group has an active Facebook page, although as of January 2018 it has under 800 Likes.

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Pegida Nederland

The group was first formed at the end of 2014, although was not to launch successfully until October 2015 when Edwin Wagenfeld, a Dutch organiser of Pegida in Germany, held a demonstration in Utrecht.

Pegida Nederland has attracted activists from Voorpost and Blood & Honour, some veterans of the Centrum Democrats and football hooligans from various cities. Among the speakers at the Utrecht launch were Lutz Bachmann of Pegida Germany and Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson), the former leader of English Defence League. The event was attended by just 200 people.

In June 2016 Edwin Wagenfeld and Tatiana Festerling (former frontwoman of Pegida Germany) travelled to Bulgaria and joined a vigilante group hunting migrants at the Bulgarian border.

The group has an active website and continues to organize demonstrations, including a Opstaan Tegen de Islamisering (Rise Up Against Islamization) demonstration on 4 June 2016. Events were held in May, June, September and November 2017, with the September event co-organised with Hooligans against Salafists and Fortress Europe Netherlands.

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Pegida Norway

Inspired by its more successful German brother, Pegida Norway was set up by Max Hermansen, a teacher, historian and navy commander. The group’s first demonstration in Oslo on 12 January 2015 attracted 190 people. Although this may sound like a small number, it is the largest far-right gathering on the streets of Norway since the Second World War.

However, since its formation the group has been troubled by infighting and splits as former Norwegian Defence League leader Ronny Alte set up his own rival Pegida, Pegida Norge. The group has quickly declined; its second event saw just a hundred people attend and the following one attracted just ten.

There have been attempts to set up other Pegida chapters across Norway but they have also failed, the little support they did have seemingly being absorbed by Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN).

Pegida Norway has an active Facebook page, which as of January 2018 has more than 13,800 Likes.

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Pegida Polska

The group was launched with a Facebook page in January 2015, following the attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

In February 2016 Pegida Polska had a planned demonstration in Wroclaw but it was hurriedly cancelled after the far-right Radical Nationalist Camp (Oboz Narodowo-Radykalny – ONR) threatened to sabotage an event it deemed a “German import”.

The Pegida Polska Facebook page has been inactive since August 2017 after it posted looking for new admins and a spin-off page, ‘Presja’ (Pospolite Ruszenie Europejskiego Społeczeństwa Jako Antysystemowcy). The page is currently down.

Despite Pegida Polska/Presja’s recent inactivity, an estimated gathering of 60,000 people marched through Warsaw on Polish Independence Day, November 2017 including numerous nationalists and extreme far-right groups.

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Pegida Schweiz

Prominent activists: Ignaz Bearth

One of its main activists is Ignaz Bearth, former member of the far-right Swiss Nationalist Party (PNOS) and founder of the Direct Democratic Party of Switzerland (DPS). Many of its demonstrations in 2015 and 2016 were held in Germany over the Swiss/German border.

The group is inactive on the streets, holding its last demonstration as Pegida Schweiz on January 2016. The Facebook group remains active and as of January 2018 has over 17,600 Likes.

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Pegida Canada/Pegida Québec

Leader: Jean-François Asgard

Pegida Canada launched in January 2015 after the terror attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo and called its first demonstration in March 2015. The event, in Montreal, attracted very small numbers and was disrupted by a large ‘counter-protest’.

In November 2015 an alleged Pegida Quebec member started publicising the location of Mosques online and calling for “action” against them. Pegida Germany has since dissociated itself from the administrator.

Other demonstrations were held in Toronto in September and December 2015. A flash demo was held in Toronto in February 2016 in solidarity with European Fortress and further demos were held in April, May and August 2016.

The group has held demonstrations throughout 2017, most recently in November in London, Ontario, though they have consistently attracted very few participants.

The group still have an active Facebook page, which as of January 2018 has over 32,400 Likes.

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Pegida UK

The now-defunct Pegida UK was initially launched in Newcastle in March 2015 but did not appear to have the full blessing and cooperation of the German parent organisation.

The organisers of the event (aside from Donna Treanor, a London BNP official who had appointed herself as an ‘adviser’) were relatively unknown. However, the event in Newcastle attracted figures across the far right, including leader of the British National Party (BNP) Adam Walker, seasoned English Defence League (EDL) activists, former EDL leader Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) and jackbooted nazis from the National Front. With around 300 participants, it was the biggest far-right demonstration in Britain in 2015.

The BNP, EDL and a host of small satellite nazi groups attached themselves to Pegida UK, which was troubled from the start. By the time Pegida made it to London for a demonstration outside Downing Street, it had already taken a very different shape with members of the EDL dominating the small protest. The organisation collapsed soon afterwards, its early leadership engaging in internecine squabbles.

Matthew Pope, who wrestled control of the organisation, then appeared to fall under the spell of Lennon who assured him that he had no interest in leading Pegida UK but merely wanted to advise him.

In October 2015, Lennon addressed Pegida’s first anniversary rally in Dresden. Referring to the refugee crisis, he likened the mass movement of people across Europe to the Crusades, telling his 20,000 listeners:

“Our borders are being overrun. There is little or no control. A country that cannot control its borders will soon not be a country… We need one banner. Save our culture. Save our country. Save our future. Unite to save a future for our children”.

He was also uncompromising in his hostility to Muslims and not just Islamist extremism. He told the crowd that he wanted a Europe “free from Halal food”, “free from Muslim rape gangs”, free from “the visual scars of minarets” and the “sounds of call to prayer” and free from people “who cover their faces, walk around our streets and refuse to integrate”.

Pope was rapidly shoved aside to make way for Lennon, although the former EDL chief was always keen to have a front man to hide behind. In December, he installed former mercenary Timothy Scott as his puppet leader but within twenty-four hours Scott had quit after an extraordinary car-crash interview with Channel Four News exposed his intellectual shortcomings.

With nowhere else to turn, Lennon returned in January 2016 alongside Paul Weston of Liberty GB and Anne Marie Waters of Sharia Watch and, later, For Britain.

Birmingham Relaunch

The major relaunch of Pegida UK came in Birmingham on 6 February 2016. The chief problem was the disappointingly low turnout on the day. Fewer than 200 people made the journey to the Midlands with the demonstrators being outnumbered by police. The march started in the car park of the Birmingham International train station and crawled along empty roads before finishing at an industrial estate.

Despite its relaunch, the overlap between Pegida UK and the EDL was considerable, sharing the same organisers, many of the same speakers, same security team and many of the same demonstrators.

Pegida UK has since ceased with its various leading figures pursuing other activities, including Lennon’s work with anti-Muslim YouTube channel Rebel Media from early 2017 (though he is still supportive of the movement, having covered their three year anniversary in Dresden in October 2017 for the channel). Waters has gone on to have an unsuccessful leadership bid for the United Kingdom Independence Party and subsequent launch of her anti-Muslim For Britain party in late 2017.

Whilst a few small Facebook pages and groups exist for Pegida UK, they are largely inactive.

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For Frihed

Leader: Tania Groth

Formerly Pegida Denmark, the group had its first demonstration in Copenhagen in January 2015, which was attended by just 300 people. In 2015 they held a series of “evening walks” once a week but starting in late 2016 they changed to demonstrations held on the first Saturday every month.

On January 23 2016 the group invited the leaders of Pegida UK, Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson), Paul Weston and Anne Marie Waters to join their demonstration. Other speakers at their demonstrations have been, among others, Ingrid Carlquist, Lars Hedegaard, Gavin Boby, Tatjana Festerling, Katrine Vinkel Holm and Dan Park.

The group was organised by Nicolai Sennels who was once a candidate for the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party but he has since stepped down, making way for Tania Groth. The group changed its name to For Frihed (For Freedom) as the German name was not deemed suitable for a Danish audience.

They have continued to hold demonstrations though these have tended to have fewer participants – mostly around 30-40.

As of January 2018 the group’s Facebook page had almost 2,900 Likes.

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Generation Identity network

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Chapter 3: Generation Identity network

Generation Identity (GI) is a pan-European, far-right youth movement, originating in France in 2012 with the launch of Génération Identitaire. The movement uses a thinly-veiled racist terminology, is strongly anti-Muslim and seeks to prevent what it calls the ‘Islamification’ of Europe by migrants and refugees as part of a ‘Great Replacement’ of ‘indigenous’ Europeans.

GI is motivated by the political ideology of ‘identitarianism’, a set of ideas derived from the work of a collection of postwar European far-right thinkers known as the Nouvelle Droite (New Right). As an article on explains, identitarianism is a ‘framework within which [activists] work to influence political and socio-economic activity in an effort to protect and preserve racial, ethnic, and cultural identity’.

GI’s attempts to influence such activity is described as ‘metapolitics’: the shifting of accepted topics, terms, and positions of public discussion with a view to creating a social and political environment more open and potentially accepting of an ideology. This approach comes from a belief that this is required before electoral and policy support for their views is possible.

From its origins as a controversial French philosophical movement, organised identitarian activism found its earliest incarnation in 2003 with the creation of the Bloc Identitaire (Identity Bloc) party. This party (now an association, ‘Les Identitaires’) in turn gave rise to the now independent youth-wing, Generation Identitaire, launched in 2012. GI has since spread from France and has official branches across 13 European countries, all of which share an established transnational brand, set of beliefs and political tactics.

Alongside France, the most prominent GI branches are based in Germany, Italy and Austria. The movement has made its first forays into having a transatlantic presence with the emergence of a Canadian branch and there are indications of attempts to establish a US branch.

The movement garnered international attention in the summer of 2017 when GI activists from across Europe came together to launch ‘Defend Europe’, a mission, which in April 2018 resurfaced as a mission to block migrants crossing the Alps.


Génération Identitaire (France)
Identitäre Bewegung (Germany)
Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (Austria) 
Generazione Identitaria (Italy)
Generation Identity United Kingdom and Ireland
Generatie Identiteit (Flanders/Belgium)
Identitas Generacio Magyarország (Hungary)
Generacija Identitete Slovenija (Slovenia)
Generation Identity Switzerland (Switzerland)
Generace Identity (Czechia)
Ruch Tożsamościowy (Poland)
Generacija Identiteta (Serbia)
Identitær (Denmark)
Generation Identity Canada
Marginal/inactive Generation Identity branches (North America, Balkan bloc)

Génération Identitaire (Generation Identity France)

Leader: Arnaud Delrieux

Génération Identitaire began in 2012 as the youth wing of the far-right Bloc Identitaire party (now rebranded as ‘Les Identitaires’, an association rather than a party).

Their launch included the release of a video entitled ‘A Declaration of War from The Youth of France’, which stated “We are the generation of ethnic fracture, total failure of coexistence, and forced mixing of races”. More recently, in April 2017, they released a video entitled ‘Why we must dissolve the Union of Islamic Organizations of France’

The group first gained wider attention in November 2012 after activists occupied a mosque in Poitiers, the site where Charles Martel defeated an invading Muslim Moorish force in 732. More recent actions include a protest in Paris against Islamisation in May 2016, leafleting at Part-Dieu station in Lyon (of which the accompanying YouTube video’s description stated “Stop the reign of the scum”) in February 2017 and a demonstration called ‘In the Face of Islamists: Defend Europe!’ in Paris in November 2017.

Clement Gallant of Génération Identitaire took part in Generation Identity’s summer 2017 Defend Europe campaign to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean.

Génération Identitaire have numerous active branches, some of which use historical regional names. There are branches in Paris, Angers, Rennes, Lyon, Lorraine, Picardie, Savoie, Nice, Alsace, Toulouse, Auvergne, Nantes, Avignon, Poitou, Limousin, Bretagne, Touraine, Provence, Manche, Montpellier, Valence, Le Havre, Cannes, Franche-Comte, Gap, Champagne, Ardeche-Vivarais.

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Identitäre Bewegung (Identity Movement/Generation Identity Germany)

Founder: Nils Altmieks

Leader: Daniel Fiß

Identitare Bewegung (IB) began in 2012 and is registered as a voluntary association based in Paderborn. Their leader, Daniel Fiß, was previously a member of the nazi National Democratic Party of Germany’s (NPD) youth wing. Fiß maintains connections with the right-wing populist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), and has stated that the party could become the Identitarians’ “extended arm”.

A number of its activists have history in far-right organisations including Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend, the Junge National Demokraten and Sturmvogel. IB also participated at Zwischentag – a far right festival – in Erlangen in 2015 with its own stand.

Like other branches of GI, IB engages in public stunts attacking multiculturalism and Islam. For example, in 2016 they occupied the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin as a protest against German immigration policy and in November 2017 unfurled a banner from the building of the Social Democratic Party of Germany to protest against “the victims of multiculturalism, mass immigration and Islamization”.

In August 2016 they came under the observation of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution due to their xenophobic actions especially directed against Muslims.

Robert Timm, regional director of IB Berlin took part in Generation Identity’s Defend Europe campaign in summer 2017 to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean.

The group has active branches in Saxony, Berlin-Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Dresden, Franconia, Bayern, Bremen, Hessen, Hamburg, Baden, Rheinland-Pfalz, Dinslaken, Harz, Swabia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hochrhein, Altmuhlfranken, Magdeburg, Saale, Offenbach and Cleves.

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Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (Identity Movement Austria/Generation Identity Austria)

Co-leaders: Patrick Lenart and Martin Sellner

Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (IBO) was founded in 2012 as a registered association (‘Association for the Conservation and Promotion of Cultural Identity’) in Vienna.

Since 2014 Sellner and Lenart have run the Identitarian merchandise site ‘Phalanx Europa’. Through their online shop they also resell books of the New Right Antaios publishing house, as well as music by right wing Neofolk bands such as Werkraum and The Days Of The Trumpet Call. IBO are also behind the ‘Patriot Peer’ app, which is being developed so that identitarians can network with one another.

In 2016 the group’s actions included storming the stage of a play performed by refugees in Vienna in April to spray fake blood and throw leaflets which declared “multiculturalism kills”, and the unfurling of a banner in Graz on the roof of the Green Alternative party building that read “Islamisation kills” in the same month (they had originally intended to protest at a mosque instead).

More recently in August 2017 IBO in Vienna put up a banner reading “Stop Islamisation – Close Islam Schools!” on an Islamic school in Vienna-Liesing.

Along with Sellner and Lenart, other Austrian GI activists who took part in Generation Identity’s Defend Europe campaign in summer 2017 (which aimed to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean) included Viennese GI activist Alexander Schleyer. Schleyer was a parliamentary assistant to the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, until images emerged of him posing in front of an imperial German war flag popular with the far right earlier this year.

The group has active branches in Vienna, Styria, Lower Austria, Salzburg and Upper Austria.

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Generazione Identitaria (Generation Identity Italy)

Leader: Lorenzo Fiato

Generazione Identitaria (GI) was founded on 21 November 2012.

In December 2016 GI put a burqa on a statue in Bergamo, as a “symbolic act to show what will happen to our daughters and wives and to our culture if we continue to persevere in not seeing how Islam works”.

In January 2017 in Borgosesia, during a conference being held by the Italian Islamic Confederation, activists held a banner reading “Remigration Against Islamisation”. Covering the event, the GI site stated that “Islam is not welcome […] in Europe, as it has proved to be a fertilised humus for terrorism”.

Generation Identity’s Defend Europe campaign in summer 2017 to disrupt NGOs working to save refugees in the Mediterranean began, and was predominantly carried out, in Catania in Sicily. As such, the campaign featured Generazione Identitaria leader Lorenzo Fiato and was used to recruit new activists across Italy during the campaign.

GI has active branches in Milan, Rome, Turin, Bergamo, Friuli, Modena and Sardinia. It also has branches in formation in Venice, Liguria, Tuscany and Sicily.

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Generation Identity United Kingdom and Ireland

Co-leaders: Tom Dupre and Benjamin Jones

GI Ireland (GI group Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together): Deidre McTucker (AKA Damnhait McKenna)

Generation Identity (GI) have overall struggled to successfully establish a UK and Ireland presence.

In 2013 Markus Willinger, who wrote Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ‘68ers (seen as a founding text of Generation Identity), came to London to address a meeting of the far-right Traditional Britain Group (TBG). However, besides a video called ‘Generation Identity UK: A Declaration of War From The Students of Britain’, nothing emerged.

In July 2017, at the height of GI’s Defend Europe campaign to disrupt the work of NGOs working in the Mediterranean to save the lives of refugees, a Facebook page for GI UK and Ireland was launched, billing itself as the “newest branch of the pan-European Identitarian movement”.

The official launch of the UK and Ireland branch in October 2017, however, proved to be something of a disaster; it’s banner drop at Westminster Bridge received only cursory media coverage, and shortly after came the revelation that the small group had been infiltrated by an ITV documentary crew, with the help of HOPE not hate, meaning we had known all their plans from the off.

The exposé, which showed Sellner using a racist epithet, subsequently saw the then-UK co-leaders Jordan Diamond and Sebastian Seccombe panic and distance themselves from GI, an act that has seen them sidelined ever since. Two cancelled speaking engagements with UKIP’s youth wing, the government’s decision to refuse Sellner entry into the UK on two occasions since, HOPE not hate’s exposé that a GI UK activist had been a member of the banned neo-Nazi terrorist organisation National Action, and a shambolic first GI UK and Ireland conference in Sevenoaks, Kent, are all further evidence that the British Isles is proving a hard place for GI to do business. To learn more about the UK and Ireland branch, read HOPE not hate’s recent report.

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Generatie Identiteit (Generation Identity Flanders/Belgium)



Leader: Aurelien Verhassel

GI Flanders/Belgium was officially launched on 30 January 2017, though they had been active online since 26 September 2016. It was not until 29 June 2017 that they held a meeting to choose their leadership, however.

The group has yet to carry out any demonstrations, though they stated on their Facebook on 13 November 2017 that they were preparing demonstrations.

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Identitas Generacio Magyarország (Generation Identity Hungary)

Co-leaders: Bódi Ábel and Edina Hauszknecht

Identitas Generacio Magyarország (IGM) was founded on 21 October 2014 in Budapest and their website has been active since October 2016. They began demonstrations as early as August 2014, however.

Recent actions include IGM activists lying under sheets stained with fake blood at the St Stephen Basilica and at the Deak Ferenc Square in Budapest to “commemorate the massacre of European youth at Manchester” in May 2017. According to their site, these terrorist attacks represent “the true face of Islam and multiculturalism”. In October 2017 IGM activists also unfurled a banner reading “Islamisation kills” on Buda castle, Budapest.

In March 2017 IGM attempted to distance themselves from another Hungarian Identitarian organisation, Identitesz. The group’s website stated “In Hungary, the SINGLE identity organization is Identity Generation (recognized as the only recognized international identity circle)”. However, they added that “In both the ideology and rhetoric of the two organizations, they do not differ in their ambitions”.

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Generacija Identitete Slovenija (Generation Identity Slovenia)

Generacija Identitete Slovenija (GIS) is the Slovenian branch of Generation Identity and has been active since 2014.

GIS has associated alongside other Eastern European Identitarians, including recently Serbian, Czech, Hungarian and Polish Identitarians at a September 2017 demonstration in Budapest, Hungary.

Recent actions include a banner drop in November 2017 which read “Solidarity with Ahmad, with national minority?” following the Slovenian authorities decision to not deport Syrian asylum-seeker, Ahmad Shamieh.

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Generation Identity Switzerland

Given Switzerland’s mixed-official languages there exists multiple iterations of Generation Identity in Switzerland, the most prominent being Génération Identitaire Genève (Generation Identity Geneva) (GIG) and Identitare Bewegung Schweiz (Identity Movement Switzerland) (IBS).

GIG was formed in 2013 by members of two earlier Genevan Identitarian groups, Jeunes Identitaires Genevois (JIG) and Mouvement Identitaires Genevois (MIG). JIG were founded in 2005 in Geneva as an offshoot of the Generation Identity predecessor, Bloc Identitaire. Since 2016 GIG’s social media and offline activity has become more sparse and in 2017 has consisted of sharing other Generation Identity branch content.

IBS has also been active since 2013 and has remained active both online and offline in 2017, including holding an anti-Muslim demonstration in September 2017. An IBS meeting in Olten in January 2016 was attended by former PEGIDA Switzerland spokesman and far right Swiss politician Ignaz Bearth.

The website of the Swiss Generation Identity site is currently being redesigned.

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Generace Identity (Generation Identity Czechia)

Co-leaders: Michal Urban, Adam Bercik, Ladislav Havlíček

Generace Identity (GI) was founded in 2013 by former activists of groups including the neo-fascist Czech Autonomous Nationalists.

GI have engaged in various actions including sticker campaigns, banner drops and building occupations. The group’s recent anti-Muslim actions have included putting burqas on statues in March 2017.

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Ruch Tożsamościowy Polska (Identity Movement Poland/Generation Identity Poland)

Active since January 2017, GI Poland held meetings in January, March and July 2017 where they discussed how to develop the movement in Poland. Representatives from GI Hungary went to speak in July alongside representatives from Pro-Vlast (a Czech patriot youth organisation active since 2012). GI Poland representatives also attended the Polish Independence Day march on 11 November 2017 which saw 60,000 nationalists gather in Warsaw.

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Generacija Identiteta (Serbia)


Active online since March 2017 and launched with an anti-migrant conference in May of the same year, the Serbian branch have since held actions in October 2017 and a second conference on 1 November 2017 alongisde the organisation, ‘Eurasian Way’. On 9 January 2018 they carried out an action outside St. Sava church in Belgrade alongside the group ‘Serbian Action’ and took part in an anti-NATO demonstration 0n 25 March 2018.
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Identitær (GI Denmark)

GI Denmark, who refer to themselves as ‘Identitær’ (identity). have been active online since June 2017 and on the streets since September 2017 after they began their first actions. Following the path set out by other branches of GI, they have quickly moved from stickerings to banner drops in November 2017 and more elaborate street theatre actions including a ‘Ghetto Lottery’ in February 2018 in which members of the public were invited to spin a wheel to see what the results of mass migration into Denmark would be, including ‘increased crime’ and ‘Islamism’.

Prominent members include Aurelija Aniulyte, Christoffer Gerlach Skibild, Kaj H Oldenburg & Anders Bruun Nørring (the latter of whom attended Britain First marches in 2017). Aniulyte also assisted in the launch of the UK and Ireland branch in October 2017 and members of the Danish branch have also met with GI activists in Germany and France.

Generation Identity Canada


Generation Identity Canada (GIC) styles itself as ‘Identity Canada’, though does appear to be an affiliated branch of GI. It claims to have been created in December 2014 though its Facebook page was founded in September 2012.

Official chapters exist in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Subury whilst affiliate chapters exist in Vancouver, Alberta, Manitoba, London and Prince Edward Island.

On 9 January 2018 Toronto members carried out a banner drop declaring “Defend Your Freedoms, Defend Your Identity”.

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Marginal/inactive/unaffiliated Generation Identity branches

Marginal branches of GI include Generación Identitaria in Spain and there is some evidence of GI activism in Norway. Identitarian groups unaffiliated with GI also exist, such as Identitesz in Hungary and Identity Evropa in the US and there has been, more broadly, a greater adoption of identitarian terminology, imagery and tactics by groups and individuals across the far right than ever before. In Russia, a nation which has a less straightforward relationship with GI’s European outlook, there is evidence of a growing branch too.

Image result for "generation identity north america"

Now inactive, a North American branch of GI registered its website on 3 March 2018. Saygun Boris, based in North Carolina, was its purported leader and Kenny Strawn, who is based in California, their Events Director. According to a post published on Strawn’s personal blog on 20 February 2018 the North American GI chapter, ‘only became officialized 10 days ago as of this writing’ and though ‘there isn’t an official section of the Generation Identity website stating that it exists […] it does’.

Two days prior Strawn tweeted that he was ‘in contact now with Saygun Boris, the founder of the IDNA chapter that was made official last week’. The acronym ‘IDNA’ stands for ‘Identitarian North America’, following the pattern of the Canadian branch of GI, which rebranded itself as ‘ID Canada’ in January 2018.

A significant inactive branch is the proposed ‘Balkan’ GI bloc that appears to have failed to get off the ground. Its website was registered in September 2017 and the bloc appeared to consist only online (though identitarian activism had existed in some of its constituent states prior to this).

it intended to launch its social media and website in full by the end of 2017 and was accepting applications from Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Albania, Bosnia, Slovenia and Montenegro.

However, this updated web presence failed to materialise and at the start of 2018, the GI Balkan site appeared to have been hacked. There is no indication that GI intends to launch the Balkan bloc still.

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Soldiers of Odin network

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Chapter 4: Soldiers of Odin network

Soldiers of Odin is a network of anti-immigrant vigilantes founded in October 2015 by nazi Mika Ranta in Kemi, Finland.

Established as a response to an increase in asylum seekers, the various groups patrol cities by night claiming they are protecting “our women” against potential assailants. The network is said to have groups in over 20 Finnish cities and its activities have been supported by True Finns Party politicians including MP Laura Huhtasaari.

Soldiers of Odin denies accusations of racism. However, Mika Ranta has connections to the nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement and has been convicted for a racially motivated assault in 2005. According to the Finnish public broadcaster Yle, posts by members in their closed Facebook groups also show racism and nazi sympathies.

The network rapidly spread to several countries such as the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland and the United States, although some of these groups are now inactive.


Soldiers of Odin Sweden

Founded by Mikael Johansson in the beginning of 2016, the network had groups in at most 20 cities.

Several members have been convicted for assault and battery, drunk driving, drug related crimes and in possession of weapons. Some have been affiliated with other far-right groups.

Soldiers of Odin in Sweden also functioned as guards at Folkets Demonstration, a monthly manifestation against the government and immigration with speakers including nazi sympathizer Ingrid Carlqvist and Jan Sjunnesson.

Soldiers of Odin Norway (Odins Soldater)

Odins Soldater, the Norwegian branch of Soldiers of Odin was founded by Ronny Alte in January 2016.

Ronny Alte was previously the spokesman for Norwegian Defence League. His time at Odins Soldater was short-lived, leaving the outfit in March of 2016.

In February 2016 the Norwegian MP for the Progress Party and spokesperson for Justice Jan Arild Ellingsen applauded the establishment of Odins Soldater and said they should be “praised”.

In March 2017 current Odins Soldater leader Steffen Larsen stated that members who had been taken to court for refusing to disperse whilst patrolling and for refusing to remove their hoodies emblazoned with the group’s logo, had been acquitted of all charges.

Soldiers of Odin Republic of Ireland

A Republic of Ireland branch of the Soldiers of Odin emerged in February 2016 and carried out their first patrol in Dublin in May 2016. The Daily Star reported in July 2016 that the branch had also carried out patrols in Wexford, Laois and Kilkenny. A spokesperson from the branch told the reporter that they would continue to keep members’ identities hidden.

In March 2017, the branch distanced itself from Soldiers of Odin, having renamed their Facebook page ‘Clann Eirean Defence Association’ (also referring to itself as ‘Clann Worldwide’). The Facebook page, along with the group’s website, now appear to have been taken down and the group appears to no longer engage in patrols.

A Clann Wales Facebook group appeared in April 2017 though it remains very small and has no apparent offline presence.


Jewish Defence League network

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Chapter 5: Jewish Defence League network


Jewish Defence League of Canada

Ligue de Défense Juive (LDJ) (Jewish Defence League) 

Jewish Defence League of Canada

National Director: Meir Weinstein

The Jewish Defence League of Canada is the Canadian arm of the Jewish Defence League (JDL) which was established in 1968 by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane (1932-1975). The group has been described by the FBI as “a known violent extremist Jewish organization”. It holds demonstrations and counter-protests at anti-Israel events. Its anti-Muslim position has led to it building numerous links with key counter-jihad activists.

In January 2010 the group organised a solidarity rally for Geert Wilders in Toronto and in 2011 it held a support rally for the English Defence League (EDL) that included a speech by then leader Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) via Skype. In December 2015 Robert Spencer addressed the JDL in Toronto.

In May 2017 Canadian Jewish News reported that the Canadian JDL had partnered with the Canadian branch of the street movement, Soldiers of Odin.

The Canadian JDL remains active both online and off, most recently with a protest in Toronto in October 2017 and their hosting of Pamela Geller in Toronto in December 2017 to discuss her 2017 film ‘Can’t’ We Talk About This?’.

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CC BY-SA 3.0

Ligue de Défense Juive (LDJ) (Jewish Defence League)

Notable members: Anthony Attal, leader until 2009. Avichai Philippe Wagner, head of the JDL in 2009-2011. Joseph Ayache Alias Yossi Ayache Leader 2011-2014.

Current: Jean-Claude Nataf (Aliases: Yitzhak Rayman, Michael Carlisle, Eliyahu Tubiana, Old).

LDJ is the French branch of a neo-Zionist movement founded in New York in 2001. It is believed to have between 100-300 members.

The organisation has been classified in the USA as a terrorist organisation following mosque attacks and plans to attack a member of Congress, whilst its sister movement Kach has been banned by the Israeli government.

A virulently anti-Arab militant group, the LDJ operates freely in France. Its membership has grown over recent years, in line with the war in Gaza, the increase in antisemitic attacks in France and the kosher shop siege outside east Paris in January 2015.

The LDJ is made up almost entirely of young men, with most activity contained in the cities of Paris and Lyon. Since it was established in 2001 several supporters have been charged with over 100 accounts of physical aggression and assault, including an attack on high school students and vandalism of a pro-Palestine Parisian bookstore. There have been increasingly violent clashes with pro-Palestine protesters and the LDJ. One of its founders Jean-Claude Nataf is known to have links to both the Front National and Bloc Identitaire.

In July 2014, two members of the LDJ were imprisoned for a bomb attack against a Jewish anti-Zionist blogger. In early 2015, the organisation called to protest against “Islamization” alongside Pegida France, which attempted to emulate the German movement Pegida. A significant blow to the movement came in March 2016 after Parisian members were sentenced for attacking two French nationals of Maghreb origin in April 2009.

Despite an active website and social media, the LDJ has been largely inactive on the streets since 2016. The group’s Facebook account had more than 1,400 Likes as of January 2018.

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Other notable street protest groups

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Chapter 6: Other notable street protest groups

United Kingdom

Britain First

Casuals United


South East Alliance

March For England

United British Patriots

Gays Against Sharia

Britain First

Leader: Paul Golding

Deputy Leader: Jayda Fransen

Britain First (BF) is currently the most high profile counter-jihad street protest organisation in the UK. While still small, it has benefited from the vacuum left by the declining British National Party (BNP) and the splintering English Defence League (EDL). It has also benefited by excessive and sensationalist media coverage. The group is currently on the backfoot, however, having suffered a number of serious setbacks in 2018.

The group began its confrontational political activities by promoting actions designed to intimidate and ignite violent responses from Muslim communities, a tactic that has been implemented less often since the departure of their founder Jim Dowson.

Combining the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the BNP with the EDL’s hostility towards Muslims, Britain First has attracted supporters from both of these groups due to its direct action and stunts, in particular targeting Islamist extremist Anjem Choudary’s network in a way that the EDL never did. Through directly confronting their opponents on camera, they have attracted huge support on social media.

Britain First was founded and funded initially by Jim Dowson, a man dedicated to Calvinist chauvinism, religious bigotry and the raptures of evangelical and biblical Armageddon/doomsday prophecies. Though Dowson left the organization in 2014, arguing that the group’s tactics of invading mosques was “provocative and counterproductive”, the group has maintained its Christian focus with crucifixes being displayed at BF demonstrations.

In early 2016, Golding was in discussions about merging BF with Paul Weston and his Liberty GB party, although this did not materialise. Golding stood as BF candidate in the 2016 London mayoral elections, polling just 1.2%. During the victory speech of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, Golding turned his back on the winning candidate and BF later tweeted “ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS NOT WELCOME!”.

In June 2016 Britain First hit the headlines again after the assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox by far-right extremist Thomas Mair, who despite having no apparent connection to the group reportedly shouted the words “Britain First” during his attack. This led to the party sitting out the subsequent by-election for fear of a local backlash.

Golding and Fransen were banned from entering Luton and, later, all mosques and Islamic centres in England and Wales in August 2016. In November 2016, Fransen was convicted and fined by a court in Luton for abusing a Muslim woman, and also fined for wearing a political uniform. On the same day, Golding was charged with having entered premises in Wales against a court order instructing him not to do so. After breaking the court order Golding was sentenced to eight weeks in prison in December 2016 and on his release published a video in which he stated:

“I can promise you, from the very depths of my being, you will all meet your miserable ends at the hands of the Britain First movement. Every last one of you.”

In August 2017 they held a ‘Day of Action’ in Wolverhampton though attracted only a small crowd of 17 demonstrators.

While the group’s street demonstrations are generally small, they have had some striking success online; as of January 2018, the group has over 1.9 million Likes on Facebook.

The group was the focus of intense media speculation when US President Donald Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen in late November 2017. In December Golding and Fransen’s accounts were closed by Twitter.

In March 2018 Golding and Fransen were both jailed for 18 weeks and 36 weeks respectively for a series of hate crimes against Muslims.

Following this Facebook removed the accounts of Fransen, Golding and Britain First, leaving the group without its major online platforms.

Paul Golding

Paul Golding is the leader of the UK’s leading street protest group Britain First. He has been active in far-right politics since the late 1990s when a member of the young BNP.

As a member of the BNP Golding was soon recruited as a party propagandist and began editing a youth publication ‘Excalibur’. Golding was tipped by Nick Griffin as someone with great potential, although others in the party felt he was a little “wooden” and prone to displays of stupidity when influenced by others and alcohol.

In 2002, Golding became the BNP’s ‘Director of Publicity’ and was one of Nick Griffin’s closest confidants. However, by 2009 Golding’s star was beginning to wane as his recreational activities began to take their toll and he developed a reputation for reacting violently towards other BNP members, most notably the then-councillor, Lawrence Rustem, who Golding attacked after a leafleting session.

In 2009 Golding surprised everyone by being elected to Sevenoaks district Council in Kent. A few months later it was reported that despite taking a salary for the position, Golding had actually done very little. At the time he was Editor of the party periodical, which ground to a standstill as the BNP was beginning to silently implode.

In 2011 Golding moved to Northern Ireland, belatedly quitting his council post and the BNP, and helped Dowson start up Britain First.

Since then he has led BF to become the leading UK-based counter-jihad street movement.

Jayda Fransen

A former recruitment consultant from Anerley, South London, Jayda Fransen is deputy Leader of Britain First (BF). Her outspoken stance on Islam and her prominent role in BF has made her an increasingly important figure on the British scene.

She is a dedicated Roman Catholic who studied Law while working for a now-defunct firm of conveyance solicitors in Forest Hill. Importantly she has been one of those responsible for injecting the group with its religious zeal, believing strongly in invasion and crusader narratives.

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Casuals United/Pie and Mash Squad

Leader: Joe Turner (AKA Jeff Marsh, AKA Joe Butler)

This British-based protest group Casuals United (CU) was founded in May 2009 as a national umbrella network of some 50 football hooligan gangs, known as ‘casuals’.

CU has affiliated to the English Defence League (EDL) and has recruited for the United Defence Leagues: EDL, Scottish Defence League (SDL) and Welsh Defence League (WDL). CU has also supported March for England (MFE).

Their leader, Joe Turner (AKA Jeff Marsh), founder of the Welsh Defence League, is a convicted football hooligan who has been jailed numerous times for violent offences, including a two-year prison sentence in 1989 for stabbing two Manchester United fans.

Casuals United was forced to take a hiatus when Turner was incarcerated again for a violent assault on a woman, although he was released late in 2016. In December 2016 Turner collaborated with members of the nazi group National Action at an anti-mosque protest in Bolton.

CU has renamed itself ‘Pie n’ Mash Squad’, and maintains an active blog and Twitter account under that name. The group has been largely inactive in recent months.

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Leader: Shane Calvert (AKA Diddyman)

Other key activists include: John English and Peter Hawley

This British-based protest group was founded on 2 April 2011 as a breakaway from the English Defence League (EDL). The Infidels are a non-party umbrella coalition of far-right nationalists, patriots and Loyalists from across the UK represented in the following four organisations: North East Infidels (NEI), North West Infidels (NWI), the Scottish Defence League (SDL) and the Infidels of Ulster (who affiliated to the coalition in January 2012).

The Infidels are a counter-jihad street movement and also opposed to multiculturalism. They are anti-immigration and advocate the repatriation of all immigrants to their countries of origin. The main Infidel strongholds are in the North East and the North West of England.

The Infidels developed as a splinter group from the EDL after a disagreement between John ‘Snowy’ Shaw and the EDL leadership over finances. Shaw was expelled from the EDL following the Bradford demonstration in August 2010 and the split deepened after a violent clash between the North East and Luton EDL at an EDL demonstration in Blackburn in April 2011.

While still very small, it remains active and as the EDL have gone into rapid decline the Infidels have filled some of the vacuum by forming alliances with numerous other far-right groups. Allied groups include the National Front and the openly nazi British People’s Party, as well as other EDL splinter groups like the South East Alliance.

The group has developed into a far more traditional far-right party than the EDL and Shaw has also pushed the Infidels down a pro-Ulster Loyalist and anti-Zionist route. As such it is worth noting that the Infidels was the first example of a group self-radicalizing from counter-jihad to nazi. It is no longer a traditional counter-jihad group, as it rejects Zionism and is now also fiercely antisemitic.

The group continues to engage in anti-Muslim activities, including a protest against a new mosque in Bolton in November 2016 and a “Rally Against Grooming” by the Stoke-on-Trent Infidels in October 2017.

The group was dealt a blow due to the incarceration of Calvert in September 2016 following his role in the January 2016 Dover riots. After a short period out on leave Calvert was incarcerated again in November 2017 for violence at a far-right march in Liverpool in February.

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March for England

Leader: Dave Smeeton

This group was founded 18 February 2007 originally as March for the Flag by two fans of Tottenham Hotspur FC. It was renamed March for England (MFE) in November 2007, and is run by a 12-strong committee and claims 50-100 activists.

The Portsmouth-based MFE is a non-party, English nationalist grassroots campaigning organisation. It is anti-immigration and anti-Muslim, and has organised several St. George’s Day marches in Brighton since April 2008. MFE activists attended a Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) ‘No Sharia Here!’ demonstration outside Lambeth Palace, London on 11 September 2008.

MFE has close links with the English Defence League (EDL) and its activists regularly attend southern-based EDL demonstrations. It has advertised EDL events on its website, though this appears inactive as of January 2018.

It moved its yearly demonstration from Brighton to Blackpool in 2015, which was tiny as well as dominated by the North West Infidels. Members appeared at the Football Lads Alliance march in October 2017 and the group retains an active Facebook page. MFE announced on their Facebook page on 20 December 2017 that they are building links with two “very active” groups with shared interests, one of which appears to be Veterans Against Terrorism.

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South East Alliance

Leader: Paul Prodromou (Paul Pitt)

The South East Alliance is a small counter-jihadist street protest group led by Paul Prodromou (AKA Paul Pitt). The group has links with the BNP (British Voice) in Essex, the National Front and sections of the Loyalist scene.

As a small splinter group from the English Defence League, SEA now presents itself as a non-sectarian counter-jihad group that works with several other small street protest groups. It holds occasional demonstrations in Essex and London, although its supporters do sometimes travel to larger national events with similar groups such as the English Volunteer Force and the Infidels.

The group has taken on an increasingly traditional far-right position, having expanded its target from just Muslims to include the left wing and anti-racism organisations.

The group held small demonstrations in Trafalgar Square in April 2017 and in Croydon, London in May 2017.

Paul Prodromou (AKA Paul Pitt)

Paul Prodromou is the leader of the South East Alliance. Formerly he was the leader of the Essex, Kent and Sussex divisions of the English Defence League but was sacked in 2012.

He is known to have links with active British nazis.

In July 2017 Prodromou was found guilty at Liverpool Magistrates court of using threatening, abusive and insulting words during a demonstration in Liverpool in February 2016.

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United British Patriots

United British Patriots is a small counter-jihad street movement that claims to be non-partisan. It moves within the orbit of the Infidel groups and the South East Alliance. The group has an active Facebook page, which as of January 2018 has over 4,600 Likes. The page manager, Amanda Smith, was jailed for three weeks in September 2016 after attempting to photograph an accused rioter when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court accused of violent disorder at the Dover riot that took place in January of the same year.

As of January 2018, the page continues to share “news from ALL patriotic groups to promote demonstrations” in the UK, including a rally to coincide with Donald Trump’s planned (though now cancelled) visit to the UK on 26 February 2018, organised by various groups including ‘No Surrender to Islamic Terror’ and Britain First .

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Gays Against Sharia

Leader: Tommy Cook (AKA Tommy English)

This is a small street protest group created by Tommy Cook (AKA Tommy English) formerly of the English Defence League and Pegida UK.

In June 2017 Tommy Cook announced a Manchester demonstration rebranded as ‘UK Against Hate’ once former EDL leader Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) took control of the event. The demonstration attracted as many as 2,000 people.

In September 2017, they held their second demonstration in Bristol but it attracted a paltry 65 people. The event was addressed by Anne Marie Waters of For Britain and Paul Weston, formerly of Liberty GB.

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Reclaim Australia rally in Sydney, April 2015


Patriots Defence League of Australia

Australian Infidels

Australians Against Islam (AAI)

Fortitude/United Patriots Front

Reclaim Australia

Patriots Defence League of Australia (PDLA)

The PDLA formed in 2014 as a splinter group of the Australian Defence League.

The PDLA is a controversial anti-Muslim group that was deregistered in 2015 after it emerged that it had pretended to be a domestic violence support group, with the Office of Fair Trading reportedly removing the organisation’s incorporated status.

The group has been involved in Reclaim Australia demonstrations and called a demonstration in conjunction with Australians Against Islam in November 2015.

Aaron Raymond Dudeck, believed to be the president of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) branch of the PDLA, was accused in the ACT court December 2014 of monitoring the Canberra Islamic Centre, deliberately causing a car crash with a man leaving the Centre, spitting on his cheek and calling him a “Muslim c—” on the night of the Sydney Lindt cafe hostage crisis.

Philip Galea, who was reported to have aligned himself with the PDLA as well as numerous other Australian far-right groups, was arrested in August 2016 and accused of preparing for terrorist acts against properties occupied by Melbourne anarchist groups. Galea, from Braybrook, Victoria, is awaiting trial for these charges in November 2017.

The group has an active Facebook group, which has over 21,200 Likes as of January 2018. On the page, they regularly post articles by key counter-jihad activists such as Pamela Geller.

The PDLA largely held private meetings in 2016 though announced a rally in Logan City on 13 March 2016 which did not go ahead.

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Australian Infidels

Numerous Australian ‘Infidel’ Facebook pages and groups exist, featuring anti-Muslim news articles and memes.

The largest active page is the ‘Infidel Brotherhood of Australia Resistance 2’, which as of January 2018 has over 6,000 Likes. In September 2017 the group encouraged followers to wear a burka in support of the One Nation Party leader Pauline Harrison’s call for a burka ban.

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Australians Against Islam (AAI)

This is an organisation that formed when the Queensland branch of Reclaim Australia split away with the aim to “dispel any public myths that Islam may be a peaceful religion”.

The group appears dormant though a Facebook group, which as of January 2018 has over 650 members, under the same name remains active. The group advertises events held by related anti-Muslim groups including Reclaim Australia, the Patriotic Australians Defence League and the True Blue Crew.

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Fortitude/United Patriots Front

Leader: Blair Cottrell

Fortitude is an Australian political party born out of the anti-Muslim street protest group, United Patriots Front (UPF). The UPF was itself a splinter group from Reclaim Australia and was founded in May 2015. Originally run by Shermon Burgess, in October 2015 he stood down and handed control of the organization over to Blair Cottrell.

Cottrell is chairman of both the UFP and Fortitude. In October 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Cottrell had expressed extreme antisemitic and misogynist views online. His nazi sympathies were evidenced too by claims such as that “There should be a picture of [Adolf Hitler] in every classroom and every school, and [Mein Kampf] should be issued to every student annually”.

The UPF is a street protest group whose primary focus is Islam, although they are also anti-left-wing having held demonstrations against the Socialist Party. The group regularly hold anti-Muslim demonstrations, including anti-mosque events. They also participated in a ‘Shut down Parramatta Mosque’ event in western Sydney and called on activists to attend world demo day events which was an international counter-jihad event in October 2015.

Following the launch of Fortitude the UPF leadership held rallies in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and announced their intentions of focusing on federal offices by having Thomas Sewell (Fortitude secretary) and Christopher Shortis (their Melbourne “lieutenant”) run as senators. The party failed to register in time for the July 2016 elections, however, and remains unregistered.

Fortitude’s policies include an immediate stop on all further Muslim immigration and the immediate cessation of any Mosque construction.

In September 2017 Cottrell was found guilty, alongside UPF members Neil Erikson and Christopher Shortis, of inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims after they released a video in which they beheaded a dummy in front of a government building in Bendigo, Australia in protest at the building of mosque. In the video Cottrell tells the camera that “we just going give you a bit of a taste of [Islamic] culture” before the men behead the dummy and shout “Allahu Akbar!”.

The UPF Facebook page, now taken down, previously had more than 119,000 Likes. The Fortitude website has not been updated since June 2016.

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Reclaim Australia

Founders: Wanda Marsh, John Oliver and Catherine Brennan

Reclaim Australia is an Australian political movement that argues that “patriotic Australians need to stand together to stop halal tax, Sharia law and Islamisation”.

The first Reclaim Australia rallies were held across Australia in April 2015. A second round of rallies were held in July 2015, along with its child and later successor organisation, the United Patriots Front.

The movement has backed up minor hard-right Christian party Rise Up Australia and has been supported by One Nation, the Australian defence League, The Party for Freedom, the Nationalist Republican Guard and the National Democratic Party.

The group organised a rally in January 2017 in Sydney, but only dozens arrived, carrying Australian flags and signs saying “ISIS refugees not welcome” and “Stop the Invasion”

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